The other day I had to give a 30 day notice to 8 year quality decent tenants. Its a long story as often Real Estate and life can be. I want to use it to make a point however. It was done with respect, courtesy and humility and even so it was emotional, affected all involved and left one with lots of pondering. Why? Its the front lines!
For every month over an 8 year period, as a property manager I had the fondest thoughts of the tenants. Why? They helped me do my job and serve my client well. I was grateful and came to appreciate responsible, decent and upstanding people and how they conduct themselves. If we all only took care of our own affairs that well. I went to go see them to serve notices and we all sat down at a table. I began....
The tenant woman started crying using her emotions to handle (or not) the impact and to help her process what was going on in the moment and of course what is to come. The husband remained solemn, vulnerable and like any man pondered the well-being of his family as well as their next move. That's who we all are....
I had prayer before I went but nothing prepared me for the moment. I had to hold back tears, comfort the woman who kept apologizing for her emotions and become a servant to the man in his time of need. There is no rehearsing any of this. You go in and life is there with all its complexities, dynamics and surprises. The question of...who are you in all this begs an answer.....
I became a human ear, a sounding board as we discussed and explored the now and the times to come. It wasn't just their problem but mine as well as the owners. We are all going through life together wanting and needing the same things each one doing the best they can under who knows what...circumstances. Deny this at the risk of a hard heart visiting with you...
CALM & HOPE
We worked through it all and brought it into the light of reality. We were comforted and saw opportunities and more... which words cannot express. A little background at this time would help better to understand & appreciate this situation which was long in the making and was and did come to a head
A widowed 75 year old who just lost her husband and her mother back to back. Along with all that came loss of two incomes which they were all sharing to make ends meet. Now alone, she has to not only downsize but make life changing decisions. May I emphasize her age? Change anytime is stressful but 75?
THE RENTAL UNIT
Over the years, the rental deteriorated in repairs and the tenants mentioned above went with the flow. Perhaps because it was "cheap" rent, or they were able to adapt or were the type of people who you can work through it. There was no money to repair roofs, electrical problems or septic tank issues.
I never knew the extent of the deterioration because the tenants never told me. They would contact the owner of whom they had a talking relationship with and tell her. Of course she wouldn't reveal to me the whole picture and I only had bits & pieces over time. The rent came in, life went on until I did my annual inspection. SIDE NOTE: I hate it when clients contact parties that they shouldn't! What can yo do?
From my inspection and thorough conversation with the tenants as well as the owner after-wards I came to the obvious conclusion that this place cannot be rented out. It was violating all laws-on record, exposing people to harm and causing liability issues for the owner. A lawsuit and tragedy waiting to happen
Common sense which is what we all know and tend to not follow at times prevailed. I guess it was time. I took the occasion to discuss with the owner, her family and the tenants (separately) what could be done and how so that all come out okay. Trying to work with no money, honor peoples feelings & get results? Whew
I managed to get the owners to agree to extend the thirty day notice into a four month notice with a special language agreement that protected all parties. As a further incentive and investment into a good outcome, the owners agreed to let the tenants stay rent free for that period while they find another place.
WIN WIN WIN
The owner and her family all thought it was fair and warranted. The tenants were put at ease and were over-come with the love and attention-support they were getting and I was happy as a clam to be a part of all this plus do what is required as a Broker.
The owner is selling her own home as part of the downsizing necessity to conserve cash and pay off bills. The tenant will get the highest recommendations to their next landlord possible. The property that is run down (but well kept inside) will be torn down. I remain moved by the front lines REAL ESTATE.
Those banks or investors while having the undeniable right to foreclose should handle it upfront and with utmost responsible concern while going about their agreed to lawful duties. There are real people out there facing the unknown, problems and hardships. Exercise your rights but have a heart while doing so or what have we come to?